The family of Mohamed Baio, the head of the Libyan Media Foundation, called on the international community, human rights associations, and all international bodies concerned with freedom of the press to immediately intervene, and secure his release.
A hashtag of “#Freedom for the head of the Libyan Media Foundation” was launched by Baio’s family and went viral on social media platforms. Many social activists reacted with the hashtag and called for his immediate release.
The US Embassy in Libya and the United National Support Mission to Libya (UNSMIL), condemned the unlawful detention of the Media Office’s head by militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord. The embassy reaffirmed American support for the rule of law, the protection of journalists, and for the freedom of expression of all Libyans.
UNSMIL called for Baio’s immediate and unconditional release. It warned that this latest round of “arbitrary arrests” highlights the risks journalists undertake to promote the right to freedom of expression in Libya. It also called for the need to respect the rule of law and reiterated that press freedom is critical to Libya’s democratic transition. “The right to freedom of expression, and the protection of journalists and media workers must be guaranteed,” it said.
On Tuesday evening, Baio was kidnapped in Tripoli by the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB). A number of accounts on social media platforms circulated a picture of Baio inside the Brigade’s headquarters. Meanwhile, other sources alleged that the TRB commander, Ayoub Abu Ras, was behind the kidnapping of Baio, and his two sons.
Baio had announced prior to his kidnapping that he had received threats by Abu Ras for having referred Suleiman Dougha to an investigation on charges of misappropriating and embezzling 35 million dinars. Baio is also targeted for combating corruption and hate speech in media bodies.